An Election Epiphany

Jan 25, 2013 by

A couple of months ago we voted in a general election choosing a president, representatives, senators, and a variety of local officials. What I most remember of that day was hearing the news network polls announcing that for an overwhelming majority of voters change was the top priority. The election produced the same president and basically the same party distribution in congress. I was confused to say the least. Where was the change?

This week the President took the oath of office and while listening to the news network coverage I was informed that recent polls have the President’s approval rating at its highest ever in his presidency at 49%. Putting the election results together with this information created more confusion. How could we have low approval of an elected official, want change, and then vote opposite what was logical?

I am sure that some analysts would simply say that the voters are evenly divided ideologically, each thinking that the other side needs to change. That may very well be. Normally I  would have agreed. But I believe I have had an epiphany. We do want change! The change we want is in ourselves. I believe that we “know” self-government is best. I believe we “know” that we should be in control of our lives, making choices based on what is reasonable. Unfortunately, we have become weak by choice, voting for a government that will do what we should be doing for ourselves. We are unhappy with ourselves and know we need to change, but when that ballot is in front of us we take the easy way out. We choose the tranquilizing effects of opulence instead of efficiency in our economic system, conformity instead of creativity in education, and managers instead of leaders in our government; leading to tyranny instead of self-government.

Thomas Jefferson wrote these words to Roger C. Weightman, June 24, 1826 about the Declaration of Independence and the right to self-govern:                                                                                                                                                                                                                           ” May it be to the world what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner,to others later, but finally to all), the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains, under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self government. That form which we have substituted restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born, with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others.”

The question becomes are we the “others” that were once the ones who enjoyed the blessings of liberty and lost it due to our lack of vigilance.

4 Comments

  1. anthony

    Is it then that we want to change, or is it we know we should change. If our desire was to change, it would be reflected in our actions. Yet, you say that in the moment, we don’t act accordingly. Rather, or minds know we need change, but we don’t want to do it and take the personal responsibility that comes with it. If I cause the change, i’m responsible for it, but if I don’t cause it, I have someone else to blame.

  2. Vince Giglio

    That is the problem of those that lack character, being led by uncontrolled passion, and choosing small trinkets as their pursuit of happiness. They are weak and by their actions define themselves as smart dogs.

  3. Gerber

    I agree with what you are saying, those who are led by their passions are nothing more than smart dogs. However, when you say that the nation wants change, I don’t think that wants is the right word. I think that, like a child that knows he isn’t supposed to put his hand in the cookie jar, we know that we need change, but we still want to stay the same, we still want the cookie. And, while we would like to believe that we are a nation that follows what we know to be right, the culture of this nation has come to one in which we believe that we deserve what we want without the consequences of not doing what we know we have to. In this way we are not a smart dog. A smart dog does what is right for the treat. We don’t even do what is right because we desire what we want more than the treat.

  4. Vince Giglio

    What is more than the treat? Do you have to do right to get the treat? Do you get the treat because you are entitled to it regardless of earning it or not?

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